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MoviePass to return this summer with a heavy reliance on virtual currency

MoviePass hero
MoviePass hero (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • MoviePass, the movie ticket service that shut down in 2019, will relaunch in the summer.
  • Stacy Spikes, the service's cofounder, has returned to the helm after being fired by MoviePass' previous parent company.
  • The new MoviePass will offer various subscription tiers and adopt a virtual currency model to let users earn credits for movies by watching ads.
  • MoviePass will also be opened up for equity investment, allowing members to own a stake in the company.

The pandemic has not only reshaped how businesses and educational institutions operate over the past two years, but also the movie industry. Many theaters have closed their doors, at least temporarily, but a movie ticket service that shuttered before the pandemic is relaunching with a different approach.

MoviePass will make a return this summer under a new leadership, with co-founder Stacy Spikes back in charge. He announced the company's comeback during a relaunch event in New York City, where Spikes revealed that MoviePass 2.0 will be built with a Web3 system (via Vice). This means that the service will use some kind of virtual currency to allow users to earn credits that can be used to purchase movie tickets.

Members can accumulate credits in a variety of ways. MoviePass will offer various tiers, with a lifetime subsciption included in the most expensive plan. The pricing remains unknown, though. Nonetheless, the good news is that unused credits will roll over to the next month, and you can even transfer them to your friends or family.

You can also earn credits by watching ads or pre-shows. "Advertisers have put a pre-show together not unlike what you'd normally see when you go to a movie theater but this is customized for you," Spikes said.

MoviePass will use facial recognition and an eye tracking system to ensure that you actually watch the ads that are served to you. The eye-tracking system will make use of the front camera on mobile devices such as the best Android phones. If it detects that you've looked away, the video ad will pause. This means you won't get your credits unless the ad has finished playing.

MoviePass subscribers can also own a portion of the company through equity investment. It remains to be seen how the new business strategy will keep the company from collapsing again, as it did two years ago due to an unsustainable subscription model.

With MoviePass's new direction, don't expect to see unlimited movies with your monthly subscription, as was previously the case.

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He is a tech journalist based in the Philippines who has been writing about consumer tech for the past six years and has been using various Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. When he's not writing, he likes to spend time outside, stealing scenes with his phone camera.

6 Comments
  • Watch an ad in the middle of a program? That's when you go pee, or make a sandwich. If I want to watch ads, I'll go to YouTube and just watch them.
  • Will they call the service A Clockwork Orange?
  • Hard pass. My bet is they shut down by end of summer.
  • Remember when ads were just that interruption where you ran and refilled a drink or grabbed a snack? If this forced ad attention idea moves to other industries it will very likely and finally result in a revolt of the masses against the forced ads nonsense. It's bad enough that if you bump your remote and your show restarts, before you can pick up where you left off, they make you watch all the ads as if you started from the beginning. Heaven forbid I want to re-watch the last five minutes of a previously watched show. Yet before I can watch those 5 minutes I have to watch all the ads I would have watched had I watched the whole show. Ad supported content has lost its mind. Hulu could have destroyed Netflix long ago, but their ad tax is holding them back.
  • This doesn't even seem legit to me. Eye tracking is supposed to be device-only on a system level (like when the display doesn't go to sleep if you're looking at it), but doesn't this garbage seem like a privacy violation that Google would block? At a base level, I wouldn't even install a viewing app that REQUIRES access to my camera. That's why I love Android 12's camera and mic blocks at the system level.
  • "MoviePass will offer various tiers, with a lifetime subscription included in the most expensive plan." Sure let's buy a lifetime subscription to a service that has already failed and gone under once and will probably do so again. SMH